Wildwood currently has a 12hp motor, which chugged away happily at about 5kts for 36 hours up and down the coast when we went up to the Sounds (about 180NM ish) with no wind. There were times I was worried what would happen if for some reason it stopped working. I have had all sorts of motor issues in the past including getting diesel bug, running out of diesel (my fault), the gear lever coming undone, issues with the fuel lifter pump and the impeller breaking. Luckily now I have had to fix those issues I know my motor a lot better than I did when I first got her! Thanks so much to my ever patient friends Dave, Justin and Mark who have put up with me phoning them at inconvenient times and asking them to talk me through the process of fixing things and for all the times they came and helped me change the oil and filters. They have been wonderful teachers!

For the new yacht, we are looking at something around 38′ which roughly has a waterline of about 36′. To find the hull speed you take the square root of the waterline and then multiply that by 1.3. So the square root of 36 = 6 and 6 x 1.3 = 8 knots. So once you take in to account the maximum hull speed and the weight of the yacht you can work out what size motor to go for.

While the 12hp Yanmar motor that Wildwood has is fine for the kind of sailing we do, it would have been great to have a few more hp available when navigating the tidal current through Tory Channel, or if we were trying to get in to a marina or something in a head wind. I will do some research in to what motors yachts of that size run. Overall I am happy with Yanmar and the parts seem readily available. So I would be happy to have another one of those.

Here is what I will be looking for in a motor:

  • Brand of motor and availability and pricing of parts
  • Horse power
  • Warranty
  • Accessibility – is it easy to get all around the motor? Where is the oil filter, water pump, water filter, anodes, lifter pump etc
  • Lighting – at present I have to hold a torch in my mouth as my engine light is broken. This is not ideal…
  • Fuel able to be turned off remotely in case of fire
  • Where is the filler located on the deck.
  • Racor Filter (to be able to drain water from the tank and avoid the nasty bug!)
  • Fuel tank gauge location
  • Engine warning lights and hour meter – where are these?
  • Engine controls – are these in a good spot, easily accessible, and clear line of sight ahead?
  • Where are the batteries located and battery isolator switch?
  • How many litres of fuel does it use in an hour?
  • How big is the fuel tank and where is it located?
  • What manuals and spares come with the motor?

Some other Engine tips I have learnt through trial and error over the years!

  • Love your engine! Keep it nice and clean and the area underneath clean so you can easily see if there have been any leaks
  • Change the oil and filters annually
  • Change the fuel filters annually
  • Keep the fuel tank full and add the diesel bug additive to avoid catching the bug! (arragh its horrible!)
  • Change the anodes annually
  • Clean the water filter annually
  • Check the air filter annually
  • Have a spare impeller on board and know how to change it!
  • Have spare belts on board
  • Always check that water is coming out of the exhaust whenever you start it
  • Know where the ‘stop’ lever is on the engine
  • Know where your gear lever hooks on to the propeller
  • Keep the manual handy

I am about to start the Coastguard Inboard Motor course by correspondence, so no doubt I will have other things to add to this list once I have done that course!


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